Baton Rouge Pride, the area nonprofit known for hosting the annual Baton Rouge Pride Festival, is launching a new meeting series, Business After Hours, to connect LGBTQ business owners and allies in the Capital Region.
When Robyn Vie Carpenter-Brisco, director of events and community engagement, moved to Baton Rouge from California 18 months ago, she noticed a lack of professional networking events for the queer community. She had previously attended similar events in Denver, Seattle, New York and Florida that were hosted by myriad organizations, from queer advocacy groups to chambers of commerce. She says she didn’t see any reason why Baton Rouge couldn’t also host a similar event.
“If you’re looking for a doctor, an accountant, or someone to do whatever and you are an LGBTQ person, you would want to go to a business that you know will honor who you are,” Carpenter-Brisco says. “And as a business owner, you want (LGBTQ identifying people) to know that you’re a safe space to be utilized.”
As an organization, Baton Rouge Pride bills itself as “dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBTQ people in Baton Rouge,” and Carpenter-Brisco thinks the Business After Hours series is a step to doing that. The nonprofit wants to bring the community together more often, she says, than just once a year during the summer Pride season.
She’s also hoping the series will promote the organization’s LGBTQ Business Directory, which launched earlier this year and lists LGBTQ-owned or allied businesses in the Greater Baton Rouge area. There are currently 43 businesses listed in the directory, including real estate agents, medical service providers, restaurants and churches.
The first Business After Hours will be held downtown from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Stroube’s Seafood and Steaks.